Weekly Update: Read. Relax. Repeat.

It's full summer, and we hope you're having a chance to relax your body, mind, and soul. It's going to be an exciting year as we build a movement to fight for our schools and communities, and we all need to be well rested!

While you're relaxing on the couch or by the beach, catch up with some of the 11 different books being read as part of our summer book clubs. Each group has been posting notes, photos, and questions from their discussions-- so that you can take part even if you're far from Philly.

Take a look at some of the highlights below, and please add your own comments on the blog or on our facebook page:

51ekNA4OKyL._SY344_BO1_204_203_200_.jpgMultiplication is for White People, Lisa Delpit
Essential Question: How can we teach deeply so that all students learn, while still covering content?

"The first year the district rolled out Math In Context, there was a lesson about building towers in there. I started the lesson with my class of 7th graders, and many became frustrated. Then it dawned on me, the lesson was based on squaring numbers, a concept taught in earlier grades. I had made the initial assumption that the kids would know how to do that, but they did not. So I backed it up and taught the basic skills first.

Did we achieve the grade level lesson? YES! Did it take twice as long as the Planning and Scheduling Time Line suggested? YES! Nia made the point that there is so much content to cover, we never get time to teach anything in depth. I find myself picking and choosing, what is a skill that is necessary that I can go deep with versus a skill that they may see again or is not that crucial in life that I can spend less time on (box and whisker plot, anyone?). These are the struggles many of us face on a daily basis." Read more from this book club here!

More highlights below the jump (click 'read more')

9781138792005.jpgMapping Corporate Education Reform, Wayne Au

Essential Questions: What is neoliberalism? Who is Pearson? Where is TFA?

"We began with a discussion of “neoliberalism”. We learned that this is not a new term, but has a history going back decades. In the last fifteen years it has increasingly become the theoretical basis of corporate and financial interests that want to privatize public education for private profit. This book maps with complex graphic organizers the corporate social networks and how they are increasingly changing education to meet the interests of the 1% rather than society as a whole." Read more here!

51iUj7vi7eL._SY344_BO1_204_203_200_.jpgElla Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, Barbara Ransby
Essential Questions: What were early moments of your politicization? What makes a leader? What makes an action or movement successful?

"The Ella Baker book group had a lively second discussion in Center City. We started with a paired discussion of the question, “What were early moments of your own politicization?” One group member came to realize the centrality of important relationships, especially with those who were different from her, in her coming to see injustices.  This idea of relationships is a central theme in Baker’s work." Read more here!

51cKJwcrOoL._SY344_BO1_204_203_200_.jpgCharters Schools, Race, and Urban Space, Kristen Buras
Essential Questions: Too many! See below :)

"Our group was a mix of teachers from public district schools, public charter schools, administrative roles, and parent roles, bringing in a variety of perspectives that we are hoping to expand as we move forward. Our goal is to think about these questions from the perspective of how charters look in the larger landscape in New Orleans AND in Philadelphia.

1) How do charter and district school models perpetuate or fight injustice?
2) What constituencies do charters serve?
3) How do charters split communities around race?
4) What does choice mean and look like?
5) What makes a school public?  
6) What does equity look like?
7) What is transparency? (Definitions, what's happening? where does the money go?)
8) What does "whiteness as property" mean?  What does market dispossession mean?
9) How do and have communities fight dispossession?
10) What is the role and presence of unions around charter schools?
11) Where does resistance meet the the market?
12) What is the future of charter schools?
13) How does race intersect with jobs, public financial assistance, and unions with regards to charter schools?" 
Read more here!

Ready to join in? Check the schedule. It's never too late to come to a meeting, whether you've done your reading or not.